Weigh-in Saturday!

Hey, kiddos!
You’ve read that right, it’s weigh-in day! I haven’t written one of these in years and I’ve really missed taking time out of my Saturday to reflect on how my weight loss journey is progressing. Currently, my plan is to update you (yes, you) and my other lovely readers on how things are going. Transparency is something I’ve lost over the years, not because I’m ashamed of how I’m doing, far from it. I just haven’t made being transparent about my journey a priority, much like my health in general.

So…with that, I would like to introduce you to the new Saturday weigh-in format! Every week you’ll see these questions along with any other nugget of randomness I can throw in.

Here we go! [insert “The Final Countdown” synthesizer tune here.]

The Rundown
How did I do?
This past week was a little out of the ordinary. My 31st birthday was last Saturday (hooray for being a fully functional thirtysomething!) and my parents were in town! Last time they were in Seattle it rained the entire time. This time: the weather was perfect. So we walked a lot and enjoyed allllll of the deliciousness Seattle has to offer from Duke’s fish and chips to drinking chocolate at Fran’s. While I didn’t stay on the healthy eating path the whole time they were here, I was back at it for the rest of the week. So this week I actually lost 2.8 pounds this week! I’ve started tracking using the MyFitnessPal app (don’t tell Oprah!) because I’ve gotten pretty lazy when it comes to tracking everything. Personally, it’s been pretty easy for me to stay complacent when tracking because there are soooooo many zero point options now. It’s easy to fudge your tracking (and by fudge I mean you eat more fudge) and forget that just because those foods are zero points, they are still calories…and fat…and carbs…and sodium. (WW folks, how do you like the new Freestyle System? Let me know in the comments!) Anyway, between tracking and hitting up the gym four times this week, I was stoked with that loss.

Current Weight: 268.6 pounds

Total weight loss: -88.4

Favorite meal last week:
By far and away my favorite meal of the week was on my birthday at Flintcreek Cattle Co. in the Greenwood neighborhood in Seattle. Their menu includes an array of delicious western ranch-raised meats along with game like boar and venison. I had the 12oz ribeye topped with a glorious compound butter. I was a huge fan of not only the food but the awesome vibe and that it’s tucked in one of my favorite understated parts of the Emerald City. Definitely, go check it out!


What went well last week?
I’ve been a lot more intentional about treating food as a strength trainer rather than a counselor. I don’t rely on food to make me feel better. That’s what exercising is for!


What will I work on this upcoming week?
I’m super excited to hang out with two awesome sets of friends tonight! I’m so happy that we’ve found these pockets of awesome people wherever we lived. From Dim Sum in the International District to a 90s pop dance party in Belltown, it should be a fun night!

(Stay tuned this week for a post about my peeps!)

Overall, I’m really happy about the momentum this new year has brought. I’m also really happy that this blog is back in my life. I can’t wait to see where this journey goes from here.

Stay awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figuring it all out

Looking Forward

“Why, hello. Haven’t seen you here in a while…”

I don’t know why I haven’t posted in so long. I’ve opened this blog page, tried to type, came up with some solid draft ideas, and then lost steam. I kept trying to come up with some epic post with Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mac” blasting from the heavens as I return to my blogtastic glory.

But life doesn’t work that way.

The blog has been such an important part of the past almost decade of my life. Not only did it serve as the trailhead of my weight loss journey, it shaped my skills as a writer. I also hoped that it would help encourage others to become healthier. Not out of any selfish hope, but because I knew how much better my life was inside and out once I made that change in my own life.

“So…why did you stop blogging, Nathan?” 

I think I stopped writing because I was ashamed of gaining some weight back. When I weighed 225, I dealt with some dark stuff. I hated how I looked. With a capital “h” hated. I felt like I was this rubber band that was stretching myself out to new links, but deep down I knew that I would snap back one day. And it did, but it could have been way worse.

Somehow, I think that stunted my weight-loss growth. I think instead of confronting some of those issues (you know…when you realize that you feel feelings that aren’t always happy) so I resorted back to food instead of confronting them.

What I’ve realized this week is that you really don’t truly grasp the concept of self-preservation until you’re 29 and a half. Whether you like it or not, you figure out that you have to watch out for yourself. Whether that’s your job, your friendships, or your health. I’ve pushed myself really hard in my late 20s and it took its toll on my health. I was really hard on myself. In fact, that has been on every job evaluation I’ve ever had. I wasn’t trying to be perfect, I was trying to do it all. Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad I did because I got to work on some amazing projects with some amazing people, but I’ve finally realized that it’s OK to take a step back.
Not every fight is my own.

“So…what now?”
Well, I am going to start writing again. I still wear the FFK moniker as a badge of honor. I love inspiring others. I feel that it’s what I am called even at a spiritual level. If every day of my life isn’t spent helping others, then what’s the point?

For years, I have pushed other people to embrace and promote the personal brand they want others to see. I haven’t been doing that. For the past three years, I’ve been this weight loss has-been. Now, it’s time to practice what I preach. It’s time to keep moving forward.

Day 2083 Back to Life, Back to Reality Edition

Why hello!

I know it’s been a while but I have a great reason…MY PARENTS WERE IN TOWN!
I haven’t seen them since Christmas and it was truly their time in the Emerald City. Well…the Wet Emerald City. While it was rainy and cold, there’s nothing better than spending time with the ones you love while showing off your favorite city.

Just to recap, the past week was kind of blur and full of amazing food. I hit the reset button today with a long (and brutal) 3-mile run and some amazing dinner. And with that, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled blogging tomorrow with an epic recap of last week in Wordless Wednesday form. See ya tomorrow!

One piece at a time

Growing up, I was obsessed with this one up and coming artist who got his big break by playing a space coyote on The Simpsons. His name…was Johnny Cash. Have you heard of him? Anyway, while ol’ JC had plenty of classic hits, one of my favorites is the song “One Piece at a Time.” The song is a story of an auto worker who steals a car part every day for years. Thanks to the advancement of the automobile, by the time he had all the parts for said automobile, it was one weird looking jalopey. But hey? It ran! 

What does this have to do with weight loss, you ask? Hang tight, I’m getting there. 

This week was the first time in a loooooooong time that I actually tracked what I ate. For the past two year or so, I have tried anything to lose weight from eating almost completely vegan to joinging classes to halfway training for a half marathon. I did everything BUT track my points. You know, the way I lost 100 pounds. 

My issue was that I was overloading myself with an insane amount of things that have worked for other people instead of what worked for me. You see, after I lost 100 pounds, I tried to keep the momentum going by trying other things instead of being patient and let the process work. Before I knew it, I was completely bogged down with trying to do way too much when in fact all I needeed to do was listen to myself. That’s when I decided to take a sabbatical of sorts from weighing in and just caring. I knew that that one added stressor on top of my incredibly stressful summer would have put me over the edge (and trust me, I was already there.)

So this past week, I kept it simple: I tracked most of my points, I talked myself through the multiple work dinners I went to, I ate when I was hungry and didn’t when I wasn’t, and I ran because the weather was awesome yesterday.  

I focused on me this week. 

I have a lot of emotional scarring from the past year and I needed some healing. While I still have some work to do on that front, I needed to get back to the simple things that taught me to love myself and my health when I started five years ago. I feel like losing 6.6 pounds this week is just an awesome byproduct of that time, love and tenderness. 

Eventually, I will join a gym, maybe the join the running club that meets by my office, and maybe even join the Seattle Curling Club. But for now, I’m going to just take it all in one piece at a time.   

 

A Fresh Start

“So I can delete your old account information and your weigh in of 269.4 pounds can be your new starting weight. Would you like to do that?”

“Yes. It’s time for a fresh start.” 

Moving across the country takes a lot out of you. From getting stuck on a dead end road and having to back a moving truck with a car trailer attached back 1000 feet with the help of the Monroe, LA Police Department, to driving with crosswinds of 60+ mph in Wyoming, it’s safe to say that I ate my feelings hard during those six treacherous days. 

But now we’re here in Seattle. And it feels like home. I want to live here forever.  

The blessing and the curse of a new city is having a million new restaurants and eateries to try along with the new-to-you offerings from other ethnicities (we even have a Nepalese place next to our apartment. Seattle is awesome.) Like when we moved to Tallahassee, we wanted to eat anything and everything. I’m pretty sure I was eating the equivalent of six vats of a lard, butter and gravy concoction each day. Thankfully, the gorging stopped when we decided to start losing weight. 

I would like to say that wasn’t the case when we got here, but it was. It’s too deliciously easy to order REALLY GOOD Chinese food out here! Ironically, I got on the scale about a week into living here and I had actually lost weight since the last time I weighed in Tallahassee. Of course, I got cocky and thought “well I can eat anything! I AM INVINCIBLE!” But like poor Borist in Goldeneye, I too was frozen in liquid nitrogen (wait, what?) I mean, I too got my comeuppins and gained a significant about of weight in a matter of days. Megan and I both knew it was time to take control. So this morning, that’s what we did. 

The opening conversation happened when we went to Weight Watchers meeting for the first time in two years. Today, we signed up for a new membership. A fresh start to match our new adventure here in the northwest. When I attended meetings in Tallahassee, I had a weird feeling towards them. I had lost around 130 pounds “on my own” but I had stalled and I had hoped it would help. Instead of taking in the information, I just sat there and stewed over my gain. It probably wasn’t what I needed then, but it is what I need now. I need that weekly tribe of folks to grow with and a weekly weigh in that will hold me accountable. Like when I first start my weight loss journey almost five years ago, I’m desperate but I’m not going to overthink it and I’m ready for a healthy life. I’m incredibly excited for the meetings, to work with the WW leader, Jodi, who also went to FSU (because this world is tiny), and I’m ready to explore all of the healthy foods and activities that this amazing city has too offer. I am ready for this fresh start.  

Introducing #FFKFitby30

For the past few weeks, Megan and I have binged watched the entire series of Game of Thrones. You know, that show with the dragons, ice zombies and Peter Dinklage. The show is simply amazing and I can’t believe it took me this long to finally watch it. Anyway, while we were watching the fifth season the other night, I thought to myself “wow, I wonder how old Kit Harington (John Snow) is. He must be like…37 or something.” So, like any good TV consumer, I went to IMDB to look for his age. Aaaaaaaand he’s 18 days older than me. That means we graduated high school at the same time, we were in awkward puberty at the same time and we probably secretly even loved Nickelback at the same time. When I told Megan, all she could say was “we’re old.”

While this might mean that I’m just not good at guessing the ages of people, it just reaffirms my false belief that I’m younger that I actually am. (At this point, I’m waiting for some red head to come up to me and say “you know nothing, Nathan MacDonald.”) The reality is that I am an adult and life his happening right now. This all kind of came to a head when I realized that as of June 13th, I am a year and a half away from turning 30. My twenties are almost gone. And I’m kind of sad about it.

At this point, I know you’re ready to comment with a remark like “ummmmm…you’re not that old. Stop whining!” or something like “dude! 30 is the new 15!” But for me, it’s more than that! I’m seeing that 3 number as a finish line for goals that I set nearly a decade ago. (Yes, the FFK is turning 5 years old this year.) I need to think of my journey in those terms so I mentally keep going. More importantly, I need to breath new life into this journey.

With that, I would like to introduce you to #FFKFitby30.

Below is a manageable list of goals that I will conquer before January 13th, 2017 (you know…when I turn 30). Some are serious, some are silly, and others are just plain cool. My plan is once I complete one goal, I will add another! So here we go!

  • Exercise for 30 minutes four times a week.
  • Complete a marathon
  • Run a race every month
  • Do a pull up (yes, one pull up. I can do a tenth of one right now…)
  • Weigh in below 200 pounds (199.8 lbs totally counts!)
  • Get certified in a fitness program like TRX of kettlebells
  • Track my food six times a week

So seven reasonable goals that all benefit one another in some way! I’m going to start tracking food tomorrow in a food journal on my phone and Megan and I also started Insanity Max 30 (check it out! It’s awesome!) last week! I’m ready to begin this journey to 30 and using these goals as my map!

Here. We. Go.

Extracurricular Living

Throughout my academic career, I was a pretty average student. Sure, I won the Taylor Elementary Geography Bee in 1998 because I knew that soda was made with corn syrup and is one of the top commodities produced by the US, but I wasn’t always the top of my class…or…ever the top of any class. In fact, Mrs. Lewis, my AP US History teacher in high school, told me one time that I was a B student and I always would be. (The wonderful faculty of Hillsboro High School in Hillsboro, Texas, ladies and gentlemen.) Now granted, I had some pretty awesome teachers as well like Mrs. Walters, who thought I was a pretty strong writer, and Mr. Davis, who helped me build a deer blind (which was big enough to be considered a tiny house by today’s standards) but overall, I was still just a funny fat kid who was always ready with a ridiculous joke or a comedic fall-out-of-the-chair routine in Ms. Tirey’s class that would have made Chris Farley proud.
Then…I got to college. A fat kid’s time to shine.
Artist rendering of Nathan MacDonald as an adult

Artist rendering of Nathan MacDonald as an adult. Not to scale.

Growing up, everyone told me that college is where you become the person that you’re going to be for the rest of your life. I was ready to finally flutter out of my cocoon and become the awkward butterfly I was born to be. Before I knew it, I was a part of the Freshman Action Council, I was singing in the college choir and eventually, I was pledging a social club (basically a fraternity at a Christian university. Same amount of weird pledging activities but with Bible verses) oh yeah, along with a social life, a part time job and a full load of classes. (Sing Song was thrown in there somewhere too. But that’s for another blog post. Here’s what I’m talking about. Yes…this is a thing. And yes, that is Megan directing. And yes, that is me as an obese Mickey Mouse.)

 But, to paraphrase Uncle Ben, with great time-sucking activities, comes great drop in GPA. I wasn’t a stellar student in college either; it was almost as if that Mrs. Lewis had accurately predicted my future. I left college with a lot of practical experience, but with a transcript that resembled a terrible pick of letters in a game of Scrabble. No vowels (or A’s) to speak of. I wanted graduate school to work, but I knew it was a long shot.
When I finally got in to grad school at Florida State, I flourished. I was on top of my assignments, I worked on group projects with brilliant colleagues, and for once, I was successful at this whole school thing. Consequently, I began my weight lost journey and lost 50 pounds in about a semester.
Why the sudden change, you ask? I didn’t let my extracurricular activities get in my way. I had spend my entire academic life focused on the wrong things. If I had put half as much effort into studying as I did at buying weird CD’s at Hastings, I would have been a pretty great student. Instead, I let the inane obligations of my college life take charge because they weren’t studying, which was hard for me. Up until grad school, that was my life in a nutshell: I didn’t want to work hard towards something because if I failed, it would have been a waste and I would be embarrassed like the time I broke a chair in the fifth grade in front of Brianna Allen, my elementary crush and my friend, Isaac Bray. Trying hard had gotten me nowhere. Why start now?
For the past year, I have let extracurriculars get in the way of my life. I worry about work instead of working out, I eat out to suppress my stress about finances and I watch TV instead of blogging. I do everything I can to avoid eating right and working out consistently and I have paid for it by gaining 30 pounds over the past year. Since October, Megan had I have been eating a heavily plant-based Nutritarian diet (I’ll talk more about that in another post soon) and at one point I had lost close to 15 pounds in about a month! Instead of continuing that momentum, I let my extracurriculars get in my way like not making a healthy choice while eating out or skipping a work out to go to a happy hour. Before I knew it, I was back to where I started and then some.
When I let my extracurriculars build up, I become lethargic and I just become numb and aimless. Losing weight and getting fit is a lot like a race with a finish line, you have a goal in mind so you train for it with purpose. Recently, I’ve been like a boxer beating the air.
So this week, I have re-framed my way of thinking and have created more of a structure for my life. Next week, I’m going to start for the Seattle Rock n’ Roll Half in June and for another awesome half in October (more on that soon!) Last night, I did interval training with a group of awesome friends for the first time and I’m going to use that as the anchor of my training this time around. I’m also going to start riding my spin bike when I’m watching TV, something that I used to do when I was at my lowest weight (not a coincidence). Finally, I have retooled my view on food. While I am going to Austin, the food mecca of the world, next week for SXSWedu, I’m not going to go all YOLO every meal. I am going to indulge, but I’m going to balance it with healthy meals too, along with a few runs thrown in.
I know I have been quiet on here for what feels like the last year, and I’m sorry. I haven’t made time for the FFK because frankly I have been embarrassed about how things have been going. Now, I know I’m not going to be perfect, but I am going to strive to write something ridiculous like this post once a week from now on. I’m still going to post my weigh in’s on the FFK Facebook page and I’ll throw in a Wordless Wednesday here and there. Thank you all for being amazing readers, supporters and friends over the years. You are all amazing.

The Disney Enchanted 10k Explained Through Star Wars: The Force Awakens GIFs

So last weekend, I checked a pretty epic item off of my bucket list: I finally ran my first Disney race! I guess I should back up a little bit…Last year, Megan’s cousin Chelsie asked us if we would be up for running a race at Disney with her, something we have been wanting to do ever since we moved here. We decided to do the Enchanted 10k since it was less expensive than the half marathon that weekend and a little more challenging than the Frozen 5k (which ironically had below freezing temperatures this year.)

Chelsie flew in to Tallahassee on Tuesday night and we went down to Orlando after work on Thursday. On Friday, we went to the awesome race expo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex where I met one of my favorite Biggest Loser contestants Danni Allen! (There isn’t a GIF to describe how awesome that experience was.) After walking around the expo and a few hours at Downtown Disney, it was time for bed!

Now as you all know, I’m a quite the Star Wars geek. (There’s something about a spacecraft that can make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs that just gives me the vapors….awe lawdy!) So when I was trying to think of how I was going to effectively and creatively describe just how awesome this actually was, I turned to the only other thing that was as awesome in my mind: the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer! AAAAHHHH! IT’S SO GOOD!!!! So without further adieu, I present to you the weirdest/funniest, to me at least, race recap I’ve ever done….

We got up early…REALLY early

You know when you wake up super early and you wonder why you even went to bed to begin with? Yeah, it was that early. At 3:30, my first phone alarm went off. (There is nothing worse than When You Wish Upon a Star playing at full volume. I thought it was going to be inspiring since we were running at Disney. I was waaaaay off.) Before I knew it, I was chowing down on a peanut butter and banana bagel sandwich (my pre-race breakfast of choice) and it was time to make our way to Epcot. It was funny to watch the combination of drivers in Kissimmee who were either going home after a night of partying or were part of the convoy of cars with 13.1 stickers on their way to the race.

Then, we waited in our corrals…forever

While I knew the race was big, I didn’t think it was going to be 12,000 racers big. The Epcot parking lot was packed! We knew we had some time, so we waited in the nice warm car for a little while before trudging our way over to the race pavilion. The race’s starting line was in one of the many Epcot parking lots which is smart because there is so much more space to work with. Anyway, Megan and I were in the D corral which was second to last. We didn’t realize that we were going to have to wait for about 45 minutes to finally run after the first corral. It was a weird adjustment for my body because I was so jacked and ready to go and then I had to stand around waiting for our turn. That just happens when you run a big race like that!

Then, it was our turn to run!

Lucasfilm / Via youtube.com

Lucasfilm / Via youtube.com

Our corral was finally called and we were up! The race MC’s counted down and the fireworks went off! Time to conquer some miles!

 

 

 

 

The first few miles…

Lucasfilm / Via youtube.com

Lucasfilm / Via youtube.com

We didn’t start running until 6 so it was still pretty dark. It felt even darker because we ran away from the lights of the park onto the highway. The first mile felt like a cakewalk because my adrenaline finally kicked back into gear. Then, it started to snow!!!!
Well…kind of.
Anna and Elsa were on top of an overpass with “Let it Go” blasting as loud as possible. The ice royalty waved at the runners and at one point they asked if we wanted to build a snowman which led to a resounding “NO!” from the crowd. It was pretty hilarious. (Side note: I may or may not have done an interpretive dance to “Let it Go.”)

Bathroom Break

Lucasfilm / Via youtube.com

Lucasfilm / Via youtube.com

Around mile 2.5, Megan and I both realized that we both needed a bathroom break. The lines were pretty long so we kept going. Then, there were two random port-a-potties (well…not random. They weren’t phantom port-a-potties.) with a pretty short line…or so we thought. We ended up waiting for a good while which made me antsy. (So I admit that this GIF doesn’t really have anything to with port-a-potties. That is unless you call the bathroom the dark side? I don’t know. I got nothing. All I know is that I’m ridiculously stoked for the new lightsabers. I don’t really care what the rest of the Internet says. They are epic and I want one!!!!!! Oh yeah…where was I?)

Rolling through Epcot!

Cruising through epcotBefore we knew it, we were approaching the backside of Epcot! We ran by the outdoor part of Test Track and and eventually made our way into the World Showcase between China and Norway. It’s weird because you think there would be more behind the pavilions. It was basically just a parking lot and a loading dock full of beer kegs. Anyway, we stopped for a few pictures since it was finally sunrise. Running around the countries has always been a dream of mine and was definitely my favorite part of the race!

All the High Fives!

high fiving(Obviously the Millennium Falcon and the TIE Fighters aren’t high fiving, but you get the picture….) We eventually made our way through the International Gateway towards the Boardwalk loop. There were other people running towards us which led to multiple high fives and loud cheering. There’s really nothing more encouraging during a race than runners cheering other runners!

The Finish Line is in Sight!

Lucasfilm / Via youtube.com

Lucasfilm / Via youtube.com

We finally made it around the loop (an old man was giving out cookies. It was one of the few times I’ve taken food from strangers.) and we ran behind the Land and the Imagination pavilion. After a selfie in front of the giant ball, we kicked it into high gear and finished the race!
AND WE DID IT!

we did it!WWWWWWWWWWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We felt awesome! We crossed the finish line, got our medals and found Chelsie! It was nice to enjoy the experience and not worry too much about our time. Overall, I would definitely run another Disney race. They are pretty pricey, but they are extremely well organized and I mean, come on, it’s Disney! One of my goals is to run a marathon before I turn 30 and the Disney Marathon weekend is on my birthday in 2017. I think that might be it!

So congratulations to all of the Disney Princess Weekend runners! You all totally rock!

Stay tuned next week for pictures of us (not just Star Wars GIFs) during the race!

Proud Jedis

(I know this isn’t a part of the trailer, but who cares?)

The Art of Conquering Your Old Fears

When I was five years old, I took swimming lessons at the local college pool. After weeks and weeks of swimming in the safe shallow end of the half-Olympic sized pool, it was time to venture out into the dark abyss known as…the deep end. I was scared. Granted, how could I not be? There could be sharks and giant squids lurking in the briny deep! I patiently waited as my fellow seafarers to make the journey. Then, it was my turn to swim..err..doggy paddle…my way towards the deep end. I took a deep breath and started swimming.
3 feet.
4 feet.
5 feet.
6 feet.
12 feet.
I was doing it! I vividly remember looking up at the pool deck, seeing my Mom in the crowd of parents, and making some sort of exclaimed yelp. I was pumped! I HAD CONQUERED THE DEEP END! 

Sadly, this was the most daring feat of Nathan MacDonald as a minor.

For most of my life, I was what you would call…a scaredy cat. I didn’t like heights, I didn’t like getting hit in football, I didn’t even like sliding in baseball because I thought it might hurt. I didn’t take chances with my physical self. (Emotionally, I was a wrecking ball of silliness and attention grabbing.)

When I was in 7th grade, my class took a field trip to a ropes course. Now like I’ve said before, I weigh less right now than I did back then. I was awkward and chubby. So when it was my turn to do the trust fall, and have all my classmates catch me, I froze and adamantly said no. As the day progressed, I slowly began to muster up the courage to get on the course. At that point, everyone else had tried it except for me. When I went to climb up, the guide asked for another adult to help support her. You know, in case I fell off and, thanks to the science of a pulley system, pulled her up as I crashed to the ground. After I watched her ask for assistance, I slowly and sheepishly climbed back down.

Even though this episode happened about 14 years ago, I still remember how my weight took both my confidence and my fears hostage. At times, I still get uncomfortable and uneasy when I am confronted with a something like heights. Like last Monday.

I'm only half joking in this photo.... Photo credit: The Amazing Laura Osteen

I’m only half joking in this photo….
Photo credit: The Amazing Laura Osteen

So I work in a pretty awesome office with an even more awesome boss. When I heard that our office was invited to try out the new challenge course at FSU’s Rez, I was excited but slightly terrified at the same time. I figured “well, the Rez is gorgeous. And they’re going to need a photographer….” so I decided to go.

When it was time to put on a harness and go over the safety instructions , I started to panic. Really panic. I started to fumble around with the equipment and go through swings of making weird jokes and comments to being deathly silent. At this point, I felt like I was already behind everyone else. Then, my harness didn’t fit and I had to get a bigger one. So at this point, not only am I behind everyone else, I’m having to get special help. My fears and feelings from that experience in the 7th grade started to creep back up.

After a few more instructions, it was go time. I had already told everyone that I was going to stay on the ground…where it was safe. When it was our groups turn to climb up the webbing to first platform, I said “screw it. Let’s do this.” and I went up. I didn’t over analyze it. I just went for it.

Our first obstacle.  Photo credit: Joe Deer

Our first obstacle.
Photo credit: Joe Deer

The first obstacle was about 20 feet of the ground. I kept looking down and kept thinking “Welp. Time to die.” Then, like Indiana Jones, I took a step out on to the wire. “Okay…this isn’t so bad,” I said. “Actually, this might be…fun?” I got across without any problems. On to the next one!

On the next obstacle, I tried to step on a little unstable piece of wood that was a part of a shortcut to get to the other side. I tried to step on it…and I fell. But because of the multiple safety mechanisms within the course, I was fine. I pulled myself up and kept going. From them on…I was fearless. I finally knew the consequences of my failure and it was recoverable. So like my voyage to the deep end, I kept going.

The final obstacle of the day for me.  Photo Credit: Joe Deer

The final obstacle of the day for me.
Photo Credit: Joe Deer

My classic "Silently Screaming" face. Photo credit: Joe Deer

My classic “Silently Screaming” face.
Photo credit: Joe Deer

When we reached the last obstacle of the lower level of the course, I figured I had done enough for the day and called it good. As I was climbing down to the ground, I felt elated. I had broken my own mold. Even after years of testing my body and my limits during this weight loss journey, I still have fears of failure that I haven’t conquered. I still feel weird in the gym so I sometimes run instead because I’m better at it and I avoid playing some competitive sports because I don’t like letting my team down. But like that first step on to the wire, it’s sometimes scary to push yourself out of your comfort zone. But when you do, you can unlock your full potential.